Everybody’s got a price (Updated)

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As I was watching my beloved Habs drop yet another game last Thursday—seriously guys, Colorado?—the same Loto-Québec commercial kept coming on every time there was a break in the game. There wasn’t anything inherently interesting about it except for one of its stars: Jacques Demers. Pardon me, make that Senator Jacques Demers.

Apparently, Demers’s gigs at RDS, the Senate, and the car delearship just aren’t paying the wealthy former coach’s bills anymore. Besides, God forbid he be asked to sacrifice a paycheque or two in exchange for the six-figure salary he’ll be earning in the Senate.

Though I think highly of many individual senators, I’m not enamoured with the Senate as an institution. Stephen Harper, on the other hand, evidently loathes everything about it. What else could possibly explain the nomination of a barely-literate former hockey coach-cum-analyst with no discernible knowledge of (or interest in) politics to the Senate? And what else could justify telling him he shouldn’t even bother pretending to take the job seriously and turn down two-bit opportunities to hawk lotto tickets and used cars? Seriously, I’d love to know.

UPDATE: A Liberal reader emailed to note that Demers had an especially hard time making up his mind when the issue of VLTs, which add more than a $1 billion to Loto-Québéc’s bottom line, came up in the Senate earlier this month. Demers has—oddly enough, given his role as Loto-Québec pitchman—expressed some interest in tackling problem gambling, most recently on Tout le monde en parle. Still, he ended up abstaining from a vote on a Liberal-supported bill that would have restricted where the terminals can pop up after he was gently reminded by fellow Tories his party wasn’t in favour of it. “Of course,” he told CP by way of explanation, “I want to be a team player for the Conservatives.”




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Everybody’s got a price (Updated)

  1. Don't sugarcoat it Phillipe, tell us how you really feel

  2. Don't sugarcoat it Philippe, tell us how you really feel

  3. We need fewer professional politicians. They all should have day jobs. Follow British model where many MPs have outside jobs and members of House of Lords get no salary.

    No federal politician should get any salary or expenses – make them cover all costs and make it really public service.

    • You're right. We should make sure that anyone in politics is either independently wealthy or will have a desperate need for a lucrative job after their stint in office. By golly, how shall they land such a job? Surely not be doing favours for corporations. Perish the thought.

      Stupid populism. You wouldn't won't a corporation run by a volunteer, why a government?

    • hogwash, imagine the temptation for corruption that would pile up on members from, say, Northern B.C. or the Yukon (their travel costs alone are huge!). Ottawa's an expensive town too, a 'volunteer MP' would need to be the kind of person who can dispose up to $100K a year just for the "honour" of serving in Parliament (but wait, there's more, would they have to pay for their staff? their correspondence with constituents? their offices?), while only being able to devote maybe 1/3 time (less?) to whatever industry generates all the disposable wealth required… and forget having a family! Sure, such people would understand the Canadian experience, and give good representation of their constituents…. Just imagine if Larry O'Brien was everyone's MP?

  4. Senators cannot do commercials?

    I don't see why he needs to have an interest in politics to be a senator, all you need is an interest in the causes of your choice and a desire to serve the people.

  5. He should have an interest in learning and looking at possible solutions to likely problems. Unfortunately, Harper has either sought out people who won't challenge the party line or are incapable of it. I don't know which category Demers falls into, but he was essentially a hockey-shaped 'govt cheque' that Harper hopes to convert to votes down the line.
    As to Hey's idea, I"m all for it, except the fact that it only leaves the rich to make these decisions. I'd be more accepting if senators had to be taken from the Order of Canada rolls, and they could serve no more than 6 years.
    Demers is also getting a very comfortable cheque for being a Harper vote. He doesn't need to be advertising a lottery, but maybe there's a list of other occupations that senators continue to fill?

  6. I like my idea of appointing senators from a pool of legal and policy experts selected by all-party review, sort of like the Supreme Court. The Senate should be for sober second thought, so why not get some thinkers in there instead of the trained seals we have in the HoC.

    • Those people already exist in the public service, academia, and policy think tanks across the country where they comment on legislation and policy. What is gained by throwing them in the Senate together? Also, it's not as if a bunch of unelected policy wonks are any more likely to alter legislation from a democratically elected government than a bunch of party hacks. The House has democratic legitimacy and the Senate doesn't. Until that changes the Senate is basically useless.

  7. Yeah, Demers has said aloud he's not particularly interested in politics. But what about Duffy — a little TOO interested in partisan politics.

    I find him appearing at town halls, and as a hologram on the internet, promoting the government, to be the ultimate — I imagine many Canadians still think he's a "journalist" and that they're watching the news, not a carefully planned partisan promotion.

    But overall — I like the Senate and think we need it. Given the idiots in the HoC, especially.

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